The Delhi government on Monday said it does not need to amend an existing law to allow FDI in multi-brand retail in the national Capital, even as it vowed to welcome global retail giants by next month.
The state government had yesterday promised to bring a bill in the state assembly’s winter session, starting Tuesday, to remove hurdles in the implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail in the Capital. But, on Monday it said that no change in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act was required to allow retail chains such as Walmart and Tesco to set up shop in Delhi.
Mukesh Sharma, parliamentary secretary to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, told Hindustan Times, “Senior officials, including those from the legal department, have looked into the issue and found that we don’t need to amend APMC Act to allow multi-national retailers to purchase produce directly from the farmers.”
He said, if needed, the government would issue an administrative order to let these retail giants set base in Delhi. The government will make an announcement to this effect in the Assembly on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Sharma had said that the government had drafted the amendment bill and the cabinet would examine it soon before it was tabled in the House.
Clarifying on Monday, Sharma said, “Even the current provisions allow multi-national retailers to purchase produce from farmers directly.”
He said the arrival of these big chains would not affect the Azadpur mandi, one of the biggest fruit and vegetable markets in the country. “When KFC came to Delhi, it didn’t stop sale of chickens in the unorganised market. There is no need to panic.”
“We’re identifying land in Delhi’s periphery. These chains need big chunks of land and cannot be set up in the congested heart of the Capital,” he said.
The move is expected rattle the winter session with the Opposition planning to corner the government on various issues. The FDI has given them additional ammunition, feels Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta.
“We will fight it (FDI in retail) tooth and nail. It would render lakhs in Azadpur mandi jobless,” Gupta told Hindustan Times.
The government, however, said it was committed to welcoming the retail giants in Delhi by January-February next year.